The Devil's Heaven
4 Helpful / 1 Not
I almost didn't get to play this course. I was in nearby East Lansing, visiting the prestigious Michigan State University campus (GO GREEN!) on a trip visiting Indiana. However, I sold my soul to the devil, AKA my mom, who is actually a sweet lady, but I needed to make a metaphor, and got to play this course. And boy was I glad I did.
The first pro was present on all holes. Two nice concrete tee pads, two Discraft Chainstar baskets, and two super detailed tee signs. These are some of the most professional things a course can do. It provides the player a complete mix of challenges, with four different layouts on each hole, none less appreciated than the other. Some people don't like two baskets on every hole, but this was executed very nicely. None of the baskets were in the way of each other, and the gold baskets were not just longer versions of the blues, but a different layout altogether.
This park was in immaculate condition. The fairways were mowed to almost ball golf fairway length (Ok not quite that short), the trails were mulched, and the shrubs and undergrowth were well groomed. This is always a plus, no doubt. This was one of the best maintained courses I played.
Most all the baskets had large ball golf-like flags with color of layout and hole number. This was a very nice touch, adding to the well groomed and manicured aspect of this course.
The course design was of course well done too, or else this would not be a 4. I honestly threw almost every disc in my bag off the tee alone. There was a good mix of short and long holes , especially with the multiple tees. There were the wooded holes, and the open bomber holes. They had lefty friendly holes and righty friendly holes. It was very nice.
Navigation was fairly easy. There were a lot of directional signs, and most of the baskets were numbered, along with all of the tee signs. There were gold tee signs and blue tee signs as well as flags, so you would always know if you were throwing to the right spot.
There were some nice man made added obstacles. This was my first experience with bunkers on a disc golf only course. They were not deep, just OB sand circles somewhere around the basket. Some people might find this gimmicky, but I liked it. I think it was a nice way to add a death putt of sorts without the use of the non-abundant elevation in eastern Michigan. I liked the little rock greens that were made, and especially the beautiful fountain around 18's gold basket, seen in the picture of the course.
Cons: There are not that many things wrong with this course. Honestly. I really loved the course and how it was designed and maintained. There are a few things I can nitpick, but I will emphasize the fact that this course is a must play.
There was not a lot of elevation on the course. Where there was elevation, they used it well, but you never had a downhill bomb, or an uphill skill shot, which sucks, because that's one of my favorite shots to throw.
Some of the back nine holes were close together, most specifically 11 and 15. They ran parallel to each other, and as of the writing of this review, one of the baskets on 15 was without the blue flag, so you could possibly run into a nice throw to the wrong basket. (If the flag gets fixed, please let me know so I can remove that part of the review)
Navigation was tough on maybe one or two holes, mainly because it was behind the gold basket, which was way behind the blue basket a couple times, so that could be a little bit of a problem.
Cost to enter the park and disc golf fee. I didn't have to pay to enter the park, there was nobody at the booth. There was not a real place to pay for disc golf either, you have to go inside the building and near the office, if there is anybody there. I ended up paying there, but it was kinda weird.
Other Thoughts: There are two pro level courses onsite, within a great park. I could honestly see this being a great tournament venue, as it has two fantastic courses. It is a great addition to the amazing disc golf scene that Michigan has to offer, and I would highly encourage you to visit Michigan!
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Fantastic course design. Fun deuce or die shorts to shorts. Fun, challenging two shot par fours from the longs to longs. Long basket positions are challenging and unique in many cases. I used to think of elevated baskets, man made obstacles, etc as gimmicks, but this course uses just about every trick in the book well without seeming like putt putt. The course maintenance/landscaping is better than any course I've played (this was #73). The OB sandtraps are used brilliantly on several holes. This is the first 5 I've given. It's based on the whole complex. (I lied, also gave Flip a 5)
Cons: Many people think I'm a tough grader. About my only con for this course is the mando wall on #2. Just seemed silly to me, and is about the only "clown's mouth" thing that detracted from this course.
Other Thoughts: The park is a very nice county park with numerous options for things to do. Having two completely different courses, as others have mentioned, makes this possibly THEE destination location in the state. Add to the fact Devil's Den is really FOUR courses in one with the tee/basket options...you could make this a multiple day trip and not be bored. The addition of short tee pads on River's Edge to make it more beginner/junior friendly is literally about the only thing lacking at this facility.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
woW! A lot of course a lot of fun
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: A superb course that rivals Flip city in it's fun factor: Levithan in distance and is in a class of its own in variety. 4 different courses long to long, long to short, short to long, and what seems the most popular amongst locals was the shorts to shorts. I saw no one playing long tees which seemed like a pro level course to say the least. I played the short tees to the long baskets and that is what I'm basing my review on.
I thought the course was very challenging with distance shots, it was long, and had manicured fairways. Well defined and had varied routes to choose from.
Excellent set of tee pads that were concrete. Clean course no trash lying around.
High fun factor 5 out of 5
Beginner to pro level
4 different layouts
Another different 18 hole course next to it
Good signage shouldn't get lost
Friendly helpful locals
The course shared a lot of characteristics with some of the higher rated courses in Kentucky that I've played.
Cons: It might be to rough in the summer? I can see an issue with thick growth, I played on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. No winds sunny. No plant growth. Primo conditions. Terra firm and I witnessed no snakes.
Bugs as early as March. But not unbearable.
A few holes were average and forgettable. Gimmick on 2 and 17 but unique. Tee signs could be more detailed but trust me I'm nitpicking.
Other Thoughts: Well worth the 4 dollars each person to play.
In my top ten courses I've ever played!!
Worth traveling to.
A destination course.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Great New/Intermediate Course
Pros: Very Open
Mildly challenging basket positions
Great options for all skill levels with the Short/Long tee and basket positions
Signage at each tee box
Cons: Only con I have is that there are a few holes near the road but it really is not anything to complain about
Other Thoughts: As a newer player, I really enjoyed this course. There isnt a ton of spots you can lose a disc. There are lots of fields edged by tree's used on this course which is great for a newer player. I can throw hard but not accurately yet so there is a lot of space for my discs to fly and not get lost. They have some really neat basket positions too within the trees which force you to make a great drive, or a good mid range shot to get in position for a easier putt.
Overall, I really think this is a phenomenal course for newer or intermediate players alike. Or a great practice spot for higher level players who can make the difficult shots that the long/long requires.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
What disc golf courses should be
- Dual Tee/Basket locations
- Lots of length as well as short technical
- Pay to play to keep the riff out
- One of two excellent courses in the park
Hard to find many cons with a course this clean and well taken care of. It can take a little longer if you get stuck behind a group of newer players because of the length. There was quite a bit of Ivy in the rough (that can be extremely thick so pay attention to your shots)
One of the few courses ive played that I had a hard time nitpicking at least 1 or 2 holes. Well worth stopping and even traveling to. Ive only played twice, one round being a tournament but it seems to be quiet and secluded during weekdays. Looking forward to going back
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
A Gem in the Heart of The Mitten
Pros: This is going to be a fairly short and concise review as I will direct you to BogeyNoMore's review further down. He (I assume) nails it. I will just add a little bit of peanuts to his butter.
This course is what I imagine a disc golf course is like that is created like a ball golf course without actually being on a ball golf course. Pristine as can be. Truly have to hand it to the maintenance crew of this course, just spectacular. Hell, I saw only two random beer cans on the whole course and their presence was shockingly obvious.
How cool is it that in essence this course offers four courses in one? Two tee pads with two baskets on most holes. Diversity. I ended up playing long tees with gold baskets. One of the longest courses, if not THE longest course I have played. It was great.
Cons: Once again, see BogeyNoMore's review for agreed upon cons.
A few I might add.
I would have liked to seen more shorts on the longs. Weird I know.
Elevation was lacking, no fault of their own, and I'm from Ludington, so that doesn't help either.
Other Thoughts: In my changing top ten as of right now, and in my top 3 of maintained courses in the states. Go play. This course is going to take multiple play throughs to even feel it's greatness. Amazing job to those that are involved in the course design and maintenance. bravo!
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 3 Not
Probably one of the best I've played
Pros: This course was amazing. We researched courses in the area to play while we were traveling from VA to Grand Rapids, Michigan and were very glad we chose this.
You will throw a lot of discs in your bag. There was a great variety of shots and every hole had a great location.
Cons: The only thing negative was a lot of mosquitoes.
And maybe not scheduling enough time to be able to play the course again from the other tee or to the other basket.
Other Thoughts: It's worth your drive and the fee to play. It's well designed and well maintained.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
A for DD
Pros: Long/short Baskets AND Tees
Two sets of descriptive teesigns on every hole
Course and park maintenance is top notch from the mowing to benches and trashcans throughout
Many pin placements have small, but interesting factors such as being on small knolls or sunken into bunker-like craters.
The long tees and pins are definitely long, but definitely fair and don't try too hard to prevent access either down the fairway or to the pin.
17 and 18 provide an exciting finish with 17's island shot and 18's beautiful fountain.
Cons: Fairways are definitely fair, but if you find rough it can be punishing either from very dense tall grass or poison-ivy laden brush.
Mostly an open, placement shot course. However I didn't feel like the long tees requiring many max distance drives were that repetitive. River's edge helps to mitigate the open ness of this course.
The mando on #2 is a little strange but it adds to the professionalism of the course.
Other Thoughts: DD compliments River's edge almost perfectly. If you play this one after River's Edge, it's a nice opportunity to let it rip and blow off some frustration from it's heavily wooded counterpart. This is one of the premier 2 tee 2 basket courses in the state of Michigan. The man-made O.B. features have really shaped up nicely since conception; I actually think there could be more permanent OB features in and around the fairways and if that were to happen I would seriously consider this course a 5*. What it lacks in constant elevation it makes up for in trickier pin placements and distance off the long tees.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Two sets of tees and baskets on every hole, creating four course configurations.. This flexibility extends from an intermediate course (short tee to blue baskets) to a very long pro-level course (long tee to gold basket). I played the long tee to blue basket layout, and it was still quite long with two holes over 600 feet. The longest configuration has two holes over 1000 feet (Holes 5 and 6), eclipsing Hudson Mills Monster and Leviathan in terms of sheer length.
Most holes are meadow holes, with vast, green mowed areas. Hole 2 has an innovative wall obstacle in front of the long tee, with several holes having sandtrap-like hazards . Tree sparseness on the meadow holes is about right, rewarding skill. Lots of cunning pin positions show course design expertise. Simple yet effective signage at the tees and between holes. Has two complete sets of long, high-budget concrete teepads. My favorite was Hole 10, a grassy meadow hole with isolated patches of thick forest protecting a basket about 360 feet away. Not surprisingly, this hole is similar whichever tee or basket is selected.
Has nailed a lot of details, with picnic tables, trash cans, and water jugs (a life saver on a hot day, being a fairly open course). No smoking course, but the sign at Hole 1 specifically allows for beer and wine (but not liquor). Another small perk.
Cons: Some of the meadow holes are a little too close together for comfort (Holes 11 and 15 are the worst offenders). The short wooded holes form a minority, but have the feel of filler holes. Some of the long tees could be tricky to find, often requiring backtracking. However, the short tees are easier to find, and all baskets have large, visible flags (blue or gold).
Though large areas were recently mowed, many very rough, disc-eating areas were present. Not the best way to create challenge...I did not appreciate losing my favorite driver on the 300-foot Hole 14. The best courses south of Cincinnati in north Kentucky (Lincoln Ridge and Idlewild) deal with this issue better. $40 for an annual pass ($4 daily fee), with a separate charge for golf ($3) means you might have to make one more ATM stop when you're running late.
Other Thoughts: Course versatility, challenge, design features and amenities make this far and away the best course in the area. Congrats to the Lansing for finally getting a pro course..
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 0 Not
Someone sold their soul for this course!
Pros: Sorry for the length, but there's a lot worth mentioning, starting with a beautiful course in a beautiful park that was fairly litter free. Everything 1s well maintained and in great shape. Attention to detail is apparent everywhere you look.
• Disc Play:
+ Trees and elevation well utilized throughout; nothing huge but definitely a factor - keeps you engaged the entire round.
+ Fairly open design allows for numerous routes to the pin. Most holes are sparsely dotted with well-placed stands of trees and brush, forcing you to make decisions on the tee. Relatively few holes were "point and shoot."
+ Really doesn't favor lefties/righties, FH/BH/OH... it favors players who can adapt their game to avoid obstacles (including judicious use of OB) and execute. Evidenced by some tee signs displaying different distances for lefty/righty routes. Provides plenty of variety. You may not need every shot in your bag... then again, you might.
+ Wonderful execution of dual tees with full time dual pins (and some occasionally masterful placement) allows you to select the level of challenge you want. Yellow tees are longer than the blues, and typically have tighter/tougher lines to hit. Yellow pins were not only much longer, but better protected than the blues, with trickier approaches... so well done it merits elaboration:
• Short Tees/Short Pins: fun for experienced players without being too intimidating for beginners.
• Long/Short: increases distance while requiring more accuracy off the tee.
• Short/Long: requires even more distance than Long/Short plus greater accuracy on approaches.
• Long/Long presented a suitable challenge to local Pros I saw playing.
Consider that sometimes the tees/pins on a given hole are at different elevations, and the "season to taste" layout scheme truly provides expansive variety as well as red, white, blue and gold level challenge, allowing any skill level to "appropriately" use pretty much every type of disc off the tee.
• Equipment: Wonderfully maintained, everything's in tip-top condition.
+ Quality tee markers at all tees show layout, pin locations and accurate distances along - some even show different distances for different routes.
+ Yellow/blue flags on baskets help you spot Chainstars hidden among the trees from a distance, and help gage wind.
+ Concrete tees are level, large enough for reasonable run-ups, provided excellent footing and in great shape.
• Routing/Nav: Course is fairly well secluded from other park activities - I've seen very few non DG'ers in this section of the park. Flows pretty well for the most part, but there are a few spots where finding the next tee is less than intuitive. Fortunately, they've provided plenty of help:
+ Signs with the next hole # and an arrow pointing the way.
+ Mowed paths from green to next tee scream "that-a-way."
+ Map on back of scorecard.
+ Concrete tees and tee markers are fairly easy to spot as you make your way around the course.
• Aesthetics - Plenty of eye appeal and some special touches (11's long tee and 18's long pin) show they put time, effort, and money into this. Nicely manicured fairways, tees and greens all look wonderful (I hope they hold up well to traffic over the years). Feels very much like country club disc golf, everything's nicely groomed and beautifully presented.
+ Clean bathrooms with running water located near the parking lot.
+ Scorecard/map & pencils available near parking lot closest to 1st tee.
Cons: This really is a great course. It doesn't need gimmicks like:
• Gimmick 1: The wall in front of 2's long tee is artificial, contrived, and stupid. The ultimate Mando? Perhaps, but playing long tees to long pins is challenging enough. Toquote Ronald Reagan "...tear down this wall!"
• Gimmick 2: 17's "reverse" island green, where the "green" is defined as OB. Fascinated at first, my 2nd time around, I realized it's just dumb: if you hit metal off the tee and chain out, you take a stroke? That's BS. Tourney rules (posted on a temp sign) called for a conventional island green: land inside the zone or shoot from the drop zone with a stroke penalty - makes a lot more sense. But unlike the wall, you can play this however you want.
• Not that the course lacks shot variety, and maybe it's just me, there are no tunnel shots that really force one specific line and dare you to execute it. If nothing else, their more claustrphobic nature changes the feel of a hole. While Devil's Den requires you to hit some tight windows, you never have to thread a shot a long way through a gauntlet, nor does it have even a small smattering of densely wooded holes. These elements would make the course more complete.
• 11 and 15 play parallel and close to each other. While I was playing 15, a disc thrown from 11 came fairly close to me - there seems to be enough room available to avoid this.
• Much of the rough is the kind of low lying prairie grass, weeds, and burrs that serves no purpose other than to make looking for discs miserable and frustrating without affecting disc play. More on point, bad shots aren't necessarily penalized.
• While the tee distances seem quite accurate, the fairway shapes/pin locations as illustrated often seemed exagerated, to the point of being misleading in some cases.
Other Thoughts: They got all the big things right, and most of the little ones, too. Attention to detail and little touches are everywhere. The result is a 1st class course that's polished and suitable for any tournament or player.
• Not sure how typical wind is here, but it definitely affected my disc choice and shot selection on this relatively open course.
• One element (employed on 2-3 holes) I haven't seen elsewhere: baskets sunk into a large depression in the ground. Hence, approaches that roll are likely to help rather than hurt, as they roll toward the pin at the bottom of the pit... those who throw rollers might really like these. Intriguing perhaps, but could be listed in cons to the extent they minimize risk reward, and provide no incentive to lay up whatsoever.
• I can't really complain about the $5/per car entry, plus $4/per player fees because everything's thought out and kept up so well you'll never wonder "Where's the money going?" It's steep for one solo round, but with a 2nd quality course onsite, and all the extra touches, it's hard to argue that it's not worth it, and only a bit more than Hudson Mills or Deerfield park. If it bugs you, bring friends to split the entry fee 'cause this gem's worth sharing.
• You pay the entry fee coming into the park, but where do you pay the add'l disc golf fee? There's no collection/donation box or attendant anywhere near the courses. The person collecting the park entry fee never asked if we were playing DG, so all I paid was $5 entry fee. If they truly want the add'l $4 to play, make it obvious and easy to pay it.
• While some of cons seem unnecessary (wall, reverse island green, even the sunk pins), at least they're the result of trying too hard, rather than mailing-in something that's "good enough." That said, effort doesn't factor into my ratings. Don't come here because they tried - come here because they succeeded.
Overall, this is a phenomenal course that could stand on its own anywhere. The good news is the few elements I thought were lacking are present in spades on River's Edge. They're so dissimilar that they provide a sort of disc golf Yin and Yang. Two high quality courses that feel and play so completely different from each other make this a splendid location for mutliple round tourneys and a no-brainer destination if you can get here.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful.
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